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Egypt News July 15, 2011…أخبار مصر ١٥ يوليو ٢٠١١

There was a low turnout in Tahrir Square today. I estimate a couple of thousand – 7,000 at most. Although it was very hot and humid today, the low turnout cannot attributed entirely to the weather. More than 200,000 people gathered a week ago in similar circumstances and although the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups have denounced these protests, they alone did not account for 193,000 people last week. Although many are optimistic that more will protestors will arrive after the sun sets this evening, this is a bad sign for those waging the sit-in as it appears they are losing the popular momentum necessary to pressure the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to commit to further reform.
1. On the topic of reform, it appears that the reform the protests’ have achieved is more symbolic that substantive. The ministerial reshuffle does not appear to include the Minister of the Interior. Moreover, it looks like the police reform is a sham. The lack of transparency surround this process means information must be taken with a handful of salt. However, it appears that the primary criteria was not crimes committed but age (as officers were given early retirement options).
2. The heat seems to be hurting the supports of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) as well. Today, the counter protest organized in order to demonstrate popular support for SCAF drew less than one hundred people.
3. April 6th Movement has released a statement of six demands whose accomplishment must be achieved before the sit-ins throughout Egypt are ended. There is no way they get their first demand: the formation of a revolutionary government without the interference of SCAF.
4. Thugs attack protests in Port Said and police attack protestors in Suez. The Third Army has been deployed to Suez to protect the Suez Canal.
5. In apolitical news, a Guardian piece on the struggle to historically document the revolution is a good read. To be honest, though, I might be biased as I volunteer for Tahrir Documents.

Egypt News July 13, 2011…أخبار مصر ١٣ يوليو ٢٠١١

1. Protestors discuss why they have returned to Tahrir Square. However after occupying the square for nearly two weeks and rejecting SCAF’s increasing concessions, the collection of popular committees, political parties and youth coalitions cannot agree on the end game.
2. Despite the pleas of many officers, the Minister of the Interior has announced the largest ever internal reform for his ministry.
3. Due to yesterday morning’s attack in which six were wounded and one attacker incarcerated via a citizen’s arrest and a second altercation this morning, protests have kicked street vendors out of Tahrir. Is this really the people’s revolution? These images are disturbing.
4. After announcing the imminent formation of a committee to draft constitutional principles on Tuesday, the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) announces that parliamentary elections will likely be delayed until November. While the first is central another concession aimed at appeasing those liberal groups in Tahrir (at the expense of the wishes of the Muslim Brotherhood), the second is likely more of a logistic decision. At the moment SCAF lacks the control over the streets, number judges to act as electoral observers and planning to pull off elections in September.
5. Useful background reading on the situation in Suez as protestors there now threaten to block the tunnel to the Sinai

Egypt News July 11, 2011…أخبار مصر ١١ يوليو ٢٠١١

1. It’s your serve SCAF: Prime Minister Essam El-Sharif has promised a cabinet reshuffle and is currently meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to make it a reality. If the vague reform is not completed prior to July 17, El-Sharif has pledged to resign. In the interim, there are unconfirmed rumors (arabic) that the Interior Minister Mansour El-Essawi has resigned and is being replaced with his assistant Major General Moshen El-Fangary – who is currently a member of SCAF.
2. Dozens of police officers protest outside of the Interior Ministry demanding that Essam El-Sharif respect the judicial system instead of manipulating it to appease those gathered in Tahrir Square and other the squares of Egyptian cities.
3. A laid-off worker lights himself on fire (arabic) in front of the Suez Canal Headquarters
4. The rumors spread last night claiming that Mubarak suffered a heart attack Sunday morning are false.
5. In Tahrir Square, many are discussing whether or not the military or former NDP figures can be trusted to ensure the completion of this political and economic revolution. The answer: No.
6. Some of those who were in Tahrir in January/February have founded Tahrir – Egypt’s latest anti-establishment newspaper. It’s website, however, is still under construction.